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59 alleged violations of federal labor law at downtown Hotel Monaco and Hotel Burnham
On April 30th, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Chicago Regional Office issued a federal complaint against Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group for allegedly interrogating employees about their union activities, threatening firings, and threatening loss of wages and benefits if they chose to unionize at the Hotel Monaco and Burnham Hotel downtown.
According to the NLRB complaint, which can be found here, alleged violations by Kimpton management and select staff at both hotels include:
· Creating the impression of surveillance of employees engaged in protected, concerted activity;
· Threatening unspecified reprisals for engaging in protected, concerted activity such as distributing union flyers
· Interrogating employees about union membership, activities and sympathies
· Threatening to take away benefits and/or withdrawal of benefits if employees select the Union as their bargaining representative
The complaint follows last month’s one-day strike by housekeepers calling for the Hotel Monaco to remain neutral as employees decide whether or not to unionize.
“All we want is to be able to make the choice for ourselves about forming a union,” says Jorge Jamaica, a houseman at the Hotel Monaco for the past 5 years. “I don’t understand why our managers won’t let us have the freedom to decide, but I’m glad the Labor Board is seeking an order that will make them to stop doing things that violate our right to organize.”
The NLRB General Counsel found sufficient basis to prosecute unfair labor practice charges that include twenty-eight allegations at the Hotel Monaco, and thirty-one at the Hotel Burnham. The trial is scheduled for July 21 in Chicago.
Workers at both hotels first approached hotel management in November 2014 to demand a fair process to decide on unionization, which guarantees no interference or opposition from management.
Kimpton Hotel and Restaurant Group operates four Chicago hotels. UNITE HERE Local 1 represents workers at the Hotel Allegro and Hotel Palomar, where workers won a union contract in 2012 after the hotel agreed to a fair process to organize.
Kimpton Hotel and Restaurant Group was purchased by Intercontinental Hotels Group PLC (LON:IHG) last December.
The Hotel Monaco is owned by Xenia Hotels and Resorts (NYSE:XHR), a recently spun-off affiliate of Inland American Real Estate Trust Inc. The Wall Street Journal recently dubbed Inland American a “zombie REIT” for its failure to wind down and return cash to shareholders. Inland American’s new name is InvenTrust Property Corp. The Hotel Burnham is owned by Lone Star Funds, a private equity fund manager.
UNITE HERE Local 1 represents over 6,500 hotel workers in downtown Chicago.